Calling all swimmers
POOLS around the county are gearing up for this years big charity swim event – and you've only a few weeks left if you want to take part.The annual BT Swimathon kicks off on Monday 18 March, with millions of fundraisers expected to join the pool-based marathon.
By Debbie Watson
POOLS around the county are gearing up for this years big charity swim event – and you've only a few weeks left if you want to take part.
The annual BT Swimathon kicks off on Monday 18 March, with millions of fundraisers expected to join the pool-based marathon.
Lasting until Sunday March 2002, the swim is due to be officially hosted by some 500 leisure centres and designated pools – making it the world's largest swim event of its kind.
Among those taking part, is Ipswich's Crown Pools.
"Swimathon is a fantastic event," commented pool duty manager, Brian Clark. "Not only does all the money raised go to charity, but it gives us all a challenge and a chance to burn off some of the remaining Christmas excess."
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He said: "There has been a real buzz surrounding the event and our participants just cannot wait to dive in and raise some cash for charity."
It's hoped that, nationwide, this year's swimmers will collectively raise around £2 million for charity (85 per cent of funds go to Macmillan Cancer Relief, 15 pc to The Swimming Foundation), and for those who haven't already committed to take the plunge, you have until March 15 to register your interest.
BT Swimathon is now widely supported by Suffolk's public pools and some 12 centres are already lined up to play host this time around.
Between them, they will be offering a variety of time-alloted sessions for competitiors, including team sessions, adults only, and a fast session for those who particularly want to gain an impressive personal record.
Duncan Goodhew MBE, Olympic gold medallist and founding President of Swimathon, said: "The event has come a long way since 2,500 swimmers tested the water in a handful of London pools back in 1986.
"March 2001 saw 37,710 people swim an astonishing 35,000 miles to raise £2.4 million for cancer charities - the first time we've smashed the £2 million barrier in the event's 15-year history!
"British people are always keen to swim that extra length to support cancer charities and we are delighted to be working with Macmillan Cancer Relief again in 2002."
The event also includes a special swimming option for those who will be unable to make it to a designated 'Swimathon Pool' during the fundraising week.
Classed as the 'Simply Swim' option, teams and individuals can opt to make their fundraising bid at any time throughout the month of March – and, at any pool.
Be it a school or small private pool, fundraisers can still include their efforts within the nation-wide marathon.
For more information, or to register to take part, call the Swimathon team on 0845 36 700 36, or long on to the dedicated website, www.btswimathon.org.
Call Brian Clark at Crown Pools on Ipswich 433651.
The following Suffolk pools are currently registered as hosts: Crown Pools, Deben Swimming Pool, Felixstowe Leisure Centre, Fore Street Pool, Kingfisher Leisure Centre in Sudbury, Leiston Leisure Centre, Mid Suffolk Leisure Centre in Stowmarket, Newmarket Swimming Pool, Stradbroke Pool, Waveney Sports and Leisure Centre and Waveney Valley Pool in Bungay.